Woman wears her Sunday’s Best during 52 church services across pandemic

Credit: Via Facebook

Credit: Via Facebook

An 82-year-old woman has broken the internet just by sharing her bold and beautiful approach to virtual church

An 82-year-old Oklahoma woman has charmed the internet with her commitment to wearing her Sunday’s Best even while attending church services from home during the last year.

Laverne Wimberly, who once worked as a principal and school administrator, told local news station ABC-12 that chronicling her various outfits for virtual church over the last year has been a way for her to stay motivated in the uncertain time of the coronavirus pandemic. Wimberly is a member of Metropolitan Baptist Church in Tulsa, and since March 29, 2020, she and other members have had to enjoy the sermons and worship service from their computers.

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Wimberly said she recalled thinking about her church attire as a way to keep her in the same mindset and spirit that she would be if she were attending the service in person. For the longtime educator, that meant dressing in a variety of colorful dress suits, hats signature of the proverbial church lady and, in some cases, even a bedazzled face shield.

“I just decided at that point I’m just going to get dressed as if I was going to church, so I would not get into the habit of just slouching around,” she said.

She posted each look on her Facebook page, and she noticed the positive response right away. In addition to the photos, she also shared an encouraging word with her Facebook friends each week.

“I wanted not only to keep myself motivated, but I wanted to help keep others motivated as well, to inspire them, encourage them, and kind of eradicate some types and forms of depression, isolation, fear and despair,” she said.

Her efforts have not only been noted by her local community but also by dozens of publications, including the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail, and online supporters from across the globe.

One of the pastors at Metropolitan, Merton Huff, said Wimberly’s commitment to worship and inspiring people with her dazzling threads each Sunday had an impact on other online parishioners.

“I don’t think she has missed a Sunday of just devotionals, encouragement. It’s like she gives you a sermon before service even starts. It gives you something to focus on,” Huff said. “And, you know, of course the dressing up, it made my kids get dressed,” Huff told the station.

Huff said he looks forward to inviting churchgoers back to the sanctuary. Metropolitan, like hundreds of churches across the country, had to change course due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to Pew Research, one-third of U.S. adults had watched religious services online or on television as of last summer, and a little over half of them say they began doing this for the first time during the coronavirus pandemic. For some, that tradition could become the new way to worship.

The new way of worship has been enjoyable for Wimberly, but she looks forward to being back in church, eventually.

“As soon as the health officials and the scientists give us the green light that everything will be safe, I’ll probably be the first one in the door,” she said.